Good times

By Doc Wallace | Jan 16, 2020

As the fog of impeachment fatigue disappears, we are able to focus once again on the condition of life in America. As we breathe the fresh air of a new year, it is a long-held tradition to review the year just passed. Looking back, we are particularly intrigued with statistics and rankings that inform us about the general condition of our fellow citizens. I submit that, as we enter a new election year, an assessment of 2019 tells us that we most assuredly live in good times.

Ronald Reagan, in his election campaign, famously asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” While we haven’t yet completed four years in the current administration, we can survey the past three with a special emphasis on last year, and in so doing determine that, not only are we better off, we, indeed, live in very good times.

With respect to the American economy, it is difficult to find the right words to express how well we are doing ― “boomtown” and “spectacular” come to mind. We are currently in the largest economic expansion in history. We have the lowest unemployment since 1969 ― with the lowest African American and Hispanic unemployment in history and the lowest unemployment of women since 1955. More Americans are now employed than ever recorded in our history. The poverty rate of 17.8% is a 17-year low.

Even the liberal Washington Post states that overall wages, up over 3% for the year that has just ended, have indeed resulted from Trump’s tax cuts and sweeping business optimism.

The naysayers will now quickly jump in to say that the tax cuts have only benefitted the wealthy. Not true! Remarkably, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, in striking agreement, have just reported that “recent gains are going to those who need it most.” As proof, they both cite the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta finding that the bottom 25% of wage earners saw an increase in pay of 4.5%, while the top 25% experienced a 2.9% increase in earnings. The Reserve also reported that the average wage across the country has risen to just over $28 per hour.

This may not impress the hard socialists on the left, but it certainly comes as no surprise to those of us who see small, local businesses thriving ― many with “Now Hiring” signs posted on the front of their stores.

No less impressive is the stratospheric rise of the stock markets. All three indices, Dow, S&P and NASDAQ, ended the year at all-time highs ― good news for all Americans. Now again, to refute the claims of those, such as the attack-success socialists Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who say these gains only benefit the wealthy, we should point out that over 50% of Americans’ pension plans are invested in the stock market. It appears the stock market is good for all of us.

However, no matter how good our lives are, the trolls on the left will absolutely dismiss our national good fortune with one word, Trump. His larger-than-life persona overwhelms and dismays them. No reasoned arguments or power of words will dissuade them from their jaundiced view of our president. On this point, I can only opine that, although like many of you, I wish he would moderate his rhetoric, the fact remains that his policies and legislation have unquestionably made America safer and more prosperous.

With respect to foreign affairs, The Hill says it best: “The level of violence in the world today is historically low.” In support of this assessment, they cite four factors: increased military spending, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, looking to end the Afghanistan War, holding Kim Jong Il in check.

To this I would add the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qassam Soleimani. To those on the left who, incredulously, criticize the elimination of the latter, I simply refer them to the record of this terrorist whose great claim to fame is the development of an armor-piercing IED which horrifically killed and maimed hundreds of American soldiers. I believe Trump was right when he stated that Soleimani’s death was a step toward ending war, not starting one.

Space here does not permit an exhaustive recounting of other major accomplishments under the Trump administration, so I must list some very special ones in point form:

• Phase One trade deal with China ― tariff relief and more purchase of American agricultural goods.

• USMCA Trade Deal ― requires automobiles to be 75% manufactured in America.

• Violent crime has fallen in each of Trump’s three years.

• Surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest producer of oil.

• Signing of the biggest wilderness conservation bill in a decade and the designation of 375,000 acres as protected land.

• Largest federal employee wage increase in more than 10 years.

• Ending the low-expectations Common Core of Learning.

While this end-of-year review has not covered the entire gamut of how our nation has improved over the past three years, I trust that I have provided a factual basis for the claim that we most certainly are living in good times. Happy New Year!

Another View is a Maine Press Association award-winning column written by Midcoast conservative citizens/writers Jan Dolcater, Ken Frederic, Paul Ackerman, Doc Wallace and Dale Landrith Sr.

 

 

Comments (4)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Jan 19, 2020 10:18

Oh, here's another blatant lie in this fractured fairy tale:  "Signing of the biggest wilderness conservation bill in a decade"

 

 

Nope.

 

 

"A 13.5 Million-Acre Lie

 

 

On March 12, 2019, President Donald Trump signed into law a sweeping, bipartisan public lands bill that permanently protects nearly 2.4 million acres of public lands and water.

 

David Bernhardt, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and nominee to become the permanent secretary, was quick to claim credit for the bill before President Trump signed it into law. But the duo was largely absent through the bill’s advancement, at times even actively working against some of its provisions...

 

Congress, not the Trump administration, deserves the credit for this law’s passage. It worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft and pass a package of lands and wilderness bills that are overwhelmingly popular with the American public, and the bill passed the House of Representatives and Senate with formidable majorities.

 

Meanwhile, a new Center for American Progress analysis shows how Trump’s executive actions have put him well in the red when it comes to conserving America’s lands and waters—which he claimed he’d protect—both for permanent land protections and for mineral withdrawals. In fact, the administration has spent its time in office stripping protections from a staggering 13.5 million acres of American lands and waters."
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2019/03/20/467548/13-5-million-acre-lie/



Posted by: Kevin Riley | Jan 17, 2020 19:37

"over 50% of Americans’ pension plans are invested in the stock market"

I highly question the 50% number, more on that later.

There is just about zero pension plans in America. That alone shows you are out of touch you are.

50%(?) of Americans have their retirement in 401k funds that they have virtually no control over.
I question that 50% number since a quarter of Americans have none, zero retirement savings at all. these article shows the age breakdone.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2019/06/03/report-a-quarter-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings-infographic/

63% of Americans don't have enough savings to meet a $500 emergency.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2016/01/06/63-of-americans-dont-have-enough-savings-to-cover-a-500-emergency/

As to Trump how are all those unfulfilled promises working out for you.

Just a  few.

Trump - "I will eliminate the national in 8 years"

ND on inauguration day 1/20/17
$19,944,429,217,106
ND on 1/15/20
$23,185,270,217,106

Wall to be paid for by Mexico. Estimated cost 11.7 Billion to be paid by the taxpayer.

He said he would be working so hard he would not be ale to leave the Whitehouse.

Since inaugurated 242 days, and counting, at trump golf courses it three years at an estimated cost of  $121,000,000 to the taxpayer.

BTW Obama golfed 333 rounds in 8 years.

 



Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Jan 17, 2020 14:34

His "policies and legislation?"  trump has no "policies and legislation."  He has only ego and appetite but is willing to allow the Republicans to contort the law and destroy the social safety net in exchange for keeping him in power and his ability to loot the treasury for his own benefit.  It's interesting that you referenced the Washington Post and "failing" New York Times to back up this fantasized version of our situation.  I guess fake news is helpful when it helps to create a false narrative, right?

 

How about a different take on our economic affairs from a slightly more reliable economic source, Forbes:

 

 

"Ostensibly, for the past ten years, our economy has been recovering from the 2008 collapse. All the official indicators say we’re back in boom times, with a bull market, low unemployment and steady job growth. But there is an alternative set of data that depicts a different America, where the overlooked majority struggles from month to month.

 

...  Having a job doesn’t exempt anyone from poverty anymore. About 12% of Americans (43 million) are considered poor, and yet they are employed. They earn an individual income below $12,140 per year, and slightly more than that for a family of two. If you include housing and medical expenses in the calculation, it raises the percentage of Americans living in poverty to 14%. That’s 45 million people.

 

At that level of income, there’s almost no way to pay for food and shelter in any sizeable American city. That means people now can both be employed and homeless. Rajon Menon writes, for The Nation:

 

In America’s big cities, chiefly because of a widening gap between rent and wages, thousands of working poor remain homeless, sleeping in shelters, on the streets, or in their vehicles, sometimes along with their families.

 

Fewer and fewer people have savings to weather time between jobs or an emergency expense. A third of the U.S. population has no savings and another third has saved less than $1,000. Two-thirds of American households, by this measure, are desperately scrambling to make ends meet from check to check. Nearly half the American population earns too little to live on comfortably:

 

One-third of all workers earn less than $12 an hour and 42% earn less than $15. That’s $24,960 and $31,200 a year. Imagine raising a family on such incomes, figuring in the cost of food, rent, childcare, car payments (since a car is often a necessity simply to get to a job in a country with inadequate public transportation), and medical costs.

 

Even in households that combine income from two wage-earners, it’s rarely enough to live on without anxieties about money. It takes an average of a little more than $100,000 per year now for a household to be able to live without anxieties about money.

 

Slow and steady inflation has eroded buying power over the past decade. According to The Nation, the minimum wage rose to $7.25 by 2009, but since then inflation has eroded 10% of its buying power. So this year, someone will have to work 41 additional days to make the equivalent of the 2009 minimum wage.

 

Healthcare costs are projected to go up 20% in the coming year.

 

Credit card debt has crested at a trillion dollars and is projected to increase at 4.7% by 2020.

 

Wages have been increasing by only 2.9% per year.

 

For the young, education debt has reached a record $1.52 trillion.

 

How long is this sustainable?"

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergeorgescu/2018/08/22/americas-real-economy-it-isnt-booming/amp/?fbclid=IwAR2YdiPzuFj6maFk_cz4O4U-5kDfhytXlrVMeb3jYLwwgJqvMnw3E39nMrk

 

 

Add this to such a miserable record:

 

 

"On Tuesday, CBS News reported that, since Trump took office, the national debt has actually increased by $3 trillion, fueled in large part by his massive tax cut for the rich and corporations.

 

"In nearly three years, it rose 15% — from $19.9 trillion to $22.9 trillion, according to the latest numbers from the Treasury Department," the report noted. Despite what Trump has repeatedly called "the greatest economy in history," the Trump tax cuts have meant less revenue while spending has increased."
https://shareblue.com/donald-trump-national-debt-skyrockets-3-trillion-barack-obama-twitter/?fbclid=IwAR2xTD2gfNgzYX3hTQ1K-UBpJ_PtO0eh41x9ck2mSoY2NM-grje5PN2wYxI

 

Kinda takes the shine off that fairy tale you spun up there, doesn't it, Doc?



Posted by: Harold Bryson Mosher | Jan 17, 2020 13:31

Sorry if you're paywalled, Doc:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/books/review-very-stable-genius-donald-trump-philip-rucker-carol-leonnig.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Books



If you wish to comment, please login.